This year on Santorini we are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the beginning of the excavations at Akrotiri. Anyone who has visited the archaeological site will know that it is a very special place, where the wonderfully preserved remains of an ancient settlement still stand.
The first dig began in 1967, when Professor Spyros Marinatos set out to prove his theory that the volcanic eruption which took place in the area around two thousand BC was also responsible for the destruction of the Minoan civilization in Crete. What he uncovered did not surprise him. Remnants of a very structured settlement, dating back to the 4th millennium BC, revealed much evidence of its links with Crete, as well as with other cultures in the region.
Once a major urban centre, one can still see amongst the ruins its streets and houses. What is of great interest is the coloured wall friezes which decorated some of the houses, depicting various images. From the portrayal of women collecting crocuses to paintings of antelopes, apes and monkeys, archaeologists were able to prove that the inhabitants were familiar with distant civilizations. Beautiful portraits of boy boxers confirmed the settlement’s link with the Minoans, who had their seat in Crete. Colourful scenes of fishermen, fleets of ships and coastal cities revealed that the town engaged in trade as far as Syria and Egypt.
A roof was finally erected over the site in 2012 in order to protect it from the elements and work is still going on to uncover more secrets of this once thriving community. As you walk around Akrotiri, you can get a real sense of how life must have been then, and how much the population expressed its passion through the vibrant wall decorations. You will also discover how the homes were very well laid out, with bedrooms, kitchens and even toilets, a truly amazing fact in itself! The narrow streets show a well structured town was once in existence and it is really incredible to note that Santorini, or Thera as it was called then, was such a highly developed society. We recommend that you spend some time there when you visit the island to explore its fascinating past.
Visiting hours for the site are:
April - October: 8.00 - 20-00 every day
November - March: 8.00 - 15.00 except Monday
For more information please contact: +30 22860 81366